celebrity

A secret Las Vegas wedding and a stalker: Billie Piper's messy life in the spotlight.

Billie Piper has worn a lot of different hats in her career.

Over the years, the 37-year-old has gone from teen pop star to Doctor Who fan favourite to acclaimed theatre actress.

Now, 22 years after she first burst into the spotlight, the British singer and actress is starring in Stan's new comedy-drama series, I Hate Suzie.

Watch the trailer for Stan's I Hate Suzie below. Post continues after video.


Video via Stan.

The series follows the story of Suzie Pickles, a singer-turned-actress who lands a role in a Disney movie before photos of her performing a sex act are leaked to the media.

Although Piper co-created the new eight-part TV show, the series isn't exactly autobiographical.

"There are a lot of moments I really wouldn't want people to think were autobiographical," the actress told Radio Times.

"I know exactly what it feels like [to be famous] and I'm sure it feeds into my performance," she added.

"I'm only coming to terms with a lot of it right now."

As the new series follows the life of a former child star, we decided to take a look back at Billie Piper's messy life in the spotlight. 

Listen to Mamamia's daily entertainment podcast, The Spill, below. Post continues after podcast.

Billie Piper was born in Swindon, Wiltshire to her parents, Paul Victor Piper and Mandy Kane Kent on September 22, 1982.

Piper was originally born with her first name being Leian, but at six months old, her parents legally changed her first name to Billie.

As a child, Piper grew up in a Swindon housing estate with her parents, younger brother Charlie and younger sisters Elle and Harley.

From the age of five, Piper began dancing lessons and even appeared as an extra in Evita alongside Madonna. 

At 12 years old, Piper left her hometown to go to the Sylvia Young stage school in London, where she lived with her aunt and uncle.

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"I was very emotional and homesick," she recalled in an interview with HELLO! in 1999. 

"I'd only just moved to a new secondary school and had gone through the stage of making all new friends. But I knew I wanted it so badly and if I didn't take the opportunity I'd regret it."

Billie Piper in an advertisement for Smash Hits. Image: YouTube.

Just three years after moving to London, the teenager was blowing bubblegum in a now-famous TV advertisement for Smash Hits magazine.

Shortly after the advertisement first aired, Piper, just 15, launched her pop music career after the head of Virgin's Innocent Records label spotted the Smash Hits ad.

In 1998, she became the youngest debut artist in history to top the charts when she had her first number one hit, 'Because We Want To', released under the stage name "Billie". 

Her second single, 'Girlfriend', debuted at number one as well, before her debut album Honey to the B peaked at number 14 in the UK album charts.

After the album was released, Piper took a year off before releasing her second album, Night And Day, in 2000.

Within months of the release, the teenager made headlines after she collapsed in a London bar. Although there were rumours of drug use, Piper put her collapse down to a kidney infection and her breakup with Ritchie Neville from the boy band 5ive. 

That same year, Piper was also dealing with a stalker who was continuing to make aggressive threats.

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After being pushed by her parents to take action, the singer appeared in court to testify against the woman, who was convicted of stalking and making numerous threats against Piper and her family.

Billie Piper performs in 1998. Image: Getty.

Speaking to the Radio Times last monthPiper admitted that she struggles to remember her life as a pop star after "burying the stress" from that time in her life.

"In my 20s a lot of my stress from that period was buried, and I still struggle to remember a lot of it. I don’t regret it. I love what I do and where I’m at personally," she told the publication.

"But I certainly wouldn’t want my children to go that way. There’s an anxiety of me as a child that I probably on some levels smother my children with."

She also previously admitted that she became close to breaking point at the height of her career.

"My eyes were vague and dead, and my mouth was smiling without feeling." she said, according to Evening Standard.

"I had a very dark moment at 16 when I didn't want to be here anymore, but I did nothing about it, thank God.

"I was a little girl from Swindon, but managers and others work you to death, and you become exhausted and bitter. I was young, green, and taken advantage of. There was a massive financial rip-off and, although I was working twice as hard as I am now, I was left with hardly any money."

In 2001, Piper quit music almost as quickly as she started, turning in her pop career for marriage.

Billie Piper in 2000. Image: Getty.

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After being frequently photographed in the tabloids with red-haired British television presenter Chris Evans, who was 16 years her senior, the pair married in a secret ceremony in Las Vegas.

Piper, who was 18 at the time, wore a sarong and thongs to the ceremony, while Chris wore a shirt and sunglasses.

After eloping, the couple spent a year and a half travelling the world, before moving into Evans' home in Surrey.

"Chris and I found each other when it could have gone badly wrong for both of us," Piper later shared.

"And we saved each other from our worlds of madness."

The couple's marriage began just five months after their first date, which involved a pub crawl around London.

On the day after their very first date, Evans arrived at Piper's house with a silver Ferrari covered in red roses.

According to Piper, Evans told her: "I know you don't care about any of this and nor do I, but I had to stop you in your tracks. If you don't want it, sell it and give it to charity. I think you're wonderful. Will you marry me?" 

Billie Piper and Chris Evans in 2004. Image: Getty.

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"I didn't have a clue what to do," she wrote.

"What is the etiquette when presented with a racing car? Get in, I suppose. I did just that. I wanted Chris to see me in it. I wanted to show him that I liked it. And what I really wanted was to kiss him. I beckoned him over and we had a quick peck. I said: 'Thank you.'"

In 2003, Piper returned to the spotlight when she appeared in British TV show Canterbury Tales, and 2004 film The Calcium Kid alongside Orlando Bloom.

But as her career took off once again, her marriage with Evans came to an end with the couple officially splitting in 2004.

During their break-up, Piper publicly declared that she didn't want to claim any money from Evans.

"I'm not taking a penny from him. I think that's disgusting," she told the Radio Times, before admitting that she ended her pop music career with little money to her name.

The couple's split came just months before Piper was cast in the revamped version of British sci-fi TV show, Doctor Who.

Piper was cast as Rose Tyler, a companion to the ninth incarnation of The Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, and later the 10th incarnation, played by David Tennant.

Billie Piper in Doctor Who. Image: IMDb.

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David Tennant and Billie Piper. Image: IMDb.

During her time on the show, Piper won over legions of fans, becoming one of the most loveable characters on the popular show.

But the fame that came with being on the show was a struggle for the actress who described her time on the show as "almost impossible".

"It was very hard to have a life and take care of my family because I was always away in Cardiff," she told The Guardian in 2014.

"Also, it was a totally different level of fame. I don't miss that, myself."

In the years since Doctor Who, Piper appeared in a number of TV shows, including Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Penny Dreadful, and Collateral, and theatre performances including The Effect, and Reasons to be Pretty.

But before her time on Doctor Who came to an end, Piper met English actor Laurence Fox during the stage production of Treats.

"It absolutely happened when I met Bill. We were in a rehearsal room and I knew there and then she was the one for me," Fox said in an interview in 2010, according to HELLO!

One year later, on December 31, 2007, the couple married at St Mary's Church in West Sussex, getting matching tattoos to commemorate the day.

 Laurence Fox and Billie Piper. Image: Getty.

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The following year, the couple welcomed their first son, Winston (now 11), in August 2008. They later welcomed their second son, Eugene (now eight years old), in 2012.

In 2016, Fox shared a statement announcing that the pair were separating after eight years of marriage.

"Laurence Fox and Billie Piper have separated. No third parties are involved. For the sake of our family we request and appeal for space and privacy at this time," the statement read.

While in the middle of their divorce proceedings, Piper met and began dating Johnny Lloyd, the former frontman of grunge band Tribes.

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Speaking to Event magazine, Lloyd admitted that his life has improved since he started dating the actress.

"She challenged me. She kept asking me questions like, What’s your five-year plan? Where are you headed musically? And telling me I had to be accountable for everything I did," he said.

"I felt my head had been stuck in this way of just thinking next job, next tour and I wanted to keep talking to her. Luckily she felt the same way about me.

"She’s made my life better in so many ways and I just feel I now know who I am, I know what I can do, I know where I want to be. And that’s with her."

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In January 2019, the couple welcomed a daughter together, Tallulah.

"Two weeks ago our little girl arrived. She has totally blown our minds. I didn't know what I was missing, but it was you Tallulah," Piper wrote on Instagram.

Feature Image: Getty.

You can watch the entire first season of I Hate Suzie starring Billie Piper on Stan now. 


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